3460 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009
I'm a little worried. Why are the sheep to the East of the map, vertical. But all the others horizontal. Is there something untoward underway?
I believe what you meant to say was, I'm sorry, I haven't a clue what you're on about...
Re: "... could cripple ongoing research efforts..."
The ISS is an experiment. Into international space cooperation (mostly a success so far), oh and it was also designed to funnel US taxpayers' money into keeping ex-USSR rockets scientists in Russia - Iran had a $1m a year salary on offer to anyone who could help them build an ICBM in the 90s (at least according to The Economist at the time).
It's also an experiment into large scale construction in space. Something which is bloody hard. Along with just living in space - also very hard. Yes the Soviets then Russians did manage to keep someone up there for over a year, but at one point their space station got punctured by a flight carrying the dinner, lost computers and therefore stability and power, then nearly caught fire from the oxygen generators. They very nearly died in some very interesting (and different) ways, several times over. And were nearly forced to abandon ship at several points.
We've still not spent very long up there, and there's lots to do and learn. Plus there are many experiments into life sciences, crystalography, dark matter, environmental studies of the Earth. Admittedly with only 3 or 6 people up there, they spend a disproportianate amount of time just staying alive, rather than experimenting. But if we want to do space manufacture, we need to learn this stuff. And it's expensive and dangerous.
I think we need to get into space for the resources and the science. Maybe even living space, eventually. Plus possible micro-gravity manufacture. The only pracitcal way to do that, is to start building stuff up there - rather than lobbing it expensively through the atmosphere. Which means permanent habitation. We've now got a water recycling space toilet. But still no space farm to do food and oxygen. So much work to do.
Re: "the irreplaceable orbital station"
How will we get the funding out of government when ISS 4 just randomly disappears though?
The problem with this bluff is that people only have to half-believe it, for it to backfire.
After Russia cut off gas to Ukraine last time, partly over re-negotiating the lease on the Crimean bases they just annexed, Europe spent quite a lot of cash on upgrading its gas interconnectors. It's still reliant on Russian gas, but can at least push the stuff the other way down the pipes now, so if Russia chooses to supply only Germany, theoretically the Germans could share. It also pursuaded others to invest large chunks of change in LNG - so lost Russia customers.
Threatening to do this again in a few days is likely to mean Europe has to move to other gas suppliers, and therefore has less reason/excuse to avoid sanctions over Ukraine.
Equally just the threat of removing access to those rocket engines means that the US government will have no choice but to find another US source. Which there wasn't at the time. Once they've done that, why pay defence dollars outside the US, when there's pork to be dished out funding a factory in someone's constituency?
Result, loss of income to the Russian economy. Loss of trust in the Russian government. These ex KGB guys seem to be excellent at the diplomatic/tactical/military stuff, but not so good at the economics and strategy. Still, I guess you don't need to know economics if you can just nick your cash off someone else.
Re: To be honest, here...
Exactly. Who wants flashy? What could be more amazing than flying into space? Bling just makes you look like an arse.
Of course, I can dream that in my lifetime going into space will become boring and routine. "Where are you taking your holidays this year Sandra?"
"Well, I was thinking of goin' Magaluf and getting in some serious clubbing. But me 'n Wayne have decided that we're goin' to the Moon instead. It's only a bit more expensive to get a Bacardi Breezer up there, and it's dead cultural innit. We get to see Buzz Armstrong and that Neil Whatsisname's feet an' everythin'...
Aha! Rumbled! ISS = International Space Shed
That explains why they're always taking seeds up there and propogating them. Who's in charge of the Algerian sherry? Or have they got a still up there?
At least the passengers will get a good view of the captain tight-pants...
Yes. Those will be the solid rocket boosters...
That's why they're only developing the capsule. Flight testing of the boosters is already underway.
The outfit is “in the process of identifying the extent of the attack and potential impact on user's funds."
That's OK then. No big story. If there's only one user, there's probably not that big a loss.
I guess it's the pedant icon for me...
Not being able to print any more of it is probably the stupidest feature of Bitcoin. Unless it was deliberately designed as a pyramid scheme/scam, so that the early adopters could make loads-a-money selling off their easily mined hoards of coin.
To keep an economy stable, you need to be able to print enough money to grow the money supply at about the same speed as the economy. Even with the gold standard, there was mining. And every time you read about historical economics you come up against long-term depressions/inflations caused by fluctuations in supply of precious metals.
Admittedly continual printing leads to hyper-inflation. But QE looks to have worked far better than was expected, the upside of saving the economy was worth the downside of the current asset bubble. And remember QE isn't actually printing, it's reversible.
As an example, look at those paragons of virtue at the Bundesbank. Oh sorry, I meant the ECB, silly mistake... They've loudly lectured us Anglo-Saxons about how they'd never touch that smelly QE. As they've presided over the virtual collapse of some of the economies they were supposedly managing. Into debt-spirals and now deflation. Bitcoin fans, look at what's happening to the economy of Italy. That is what deflation does. I've been saying for 2 years that Italy would be the country that destroyed, or forced genuinely workable reform in the Eurozone. So far nothing that's been proposed that might actually work has been acceptable to Germany. Anyway, there's no excuse for not understanding the evils of deflation, when there's the example of Japan's economy to look at. Or the 1930s.
So Central Banks would be right to laugh at the idea of using crypto currency. The nerds were needed to come up with the technical jiggery-pokery, but they really needed to consider some basic economics, the reality of human nature and common sense, if they wanted bitcoin to work.
Oh and a fundamental tenet of being a Central Bank is the ability to print money by the way. Not as in QE or hyperinflation. But as in being 'a lender of last resort'. If you're not one of those, you're not a proper central bank. Even the ECB did that. They avoided QE, but they did print €1 trillion in order to fund the LTRO (2 year loans to various banks). But even before that, when the Euro was days from collapse the time before last, they had something like €500m on short-term loan to various banks to stop them from collapsing when the repo market broke down. That's what Central Banks are for, and it wasn't inflationary because the loans have mostly been paid back already.
The last time the Euro was days from collapse (9 months later), they only threatened to print money, and it saved the day. Draghi promised to "do whatever it takes", and that's been enough so far.
Although the countries that did the evil money printing to finance government debt, US, UK and Japan came out of recession. Whereas the Eurozone allowed 25% unemployment in Latvia, Spain and Greece, and not much less in Ireland, Portugal and Italy. Sometimes printing is the lesser of two evils. This time being a damned good example. The Italian economy is now at the same level it was in 1995 - fuck knows what they've done to the Greeks.
Re: UK Chancellor George Osborne doesn't want iScotland to use the pound
So are you saying it was the SNP who hacked Mt Gox and stole all the goodies? In preparation for a referendum win, and adoption of the bitcoin?
What is a more technological solution to a Scottish currency?
How you arrange things, for example going cashless and all Scots having smartcards, is utterly irrelevant to what currency Scotland chooses to use. That's all fine and dandy, but it's a mere detail.
The question is whether Scotland would be better off with the Euro, Sterling-in-monetary-union-with-the-UK, sterling without union, or a new Scottish currency. They all have various advantages and disadvantages of course. But those factors are about who Scotland trades with, interest rate risk on its share of UK national debt, who'll be back-stopping Scotland's huge financial services industry, credit ratings and the huge risks of currency union without political union. None of those factors are technology related. They're mostly about confidence and the allocation of risk.
The Bitcoin economy is tiny. Were Scotland to adopt it, in some bizarre fantasy world, Scotland would take control of it, and marginalise all other users. Were Scotland to create the ScotCoin, then it wouldn't be valued as some bitcoin wannabe, it would be treated as a national currency and traded as such.
Re: Are You Sure You Want to Unlike This Friend?
You bastard! You introduced me to your friend Amy, and she absolutely refused to sleep with me! I'm suing your ass for every penny you've got!
Re: I heard it too! Have an upvote.
It's not like the accusations about Zuckerberg weren't already commonly known. So if you did a verbal-only deal with him after all that, then I have absolutely zero sympathy. Particularly given the dodgy way Facebook is run.
Plus the usual reason for a verbal agreement is trust, or inability/disinclination to pay lawyers. But in this case there were already lawyers in the meeting to set out the property deal. So it's clearly total and utter bullshit.
This sounds to me like a shakedown. Find rich celeb. Threaten building overlooking their house, hope they pay you to bugger off. If not, you can still make something on a building project in that kind of area. Even better if you can persuade them to tell you where all their friends live, you can buy up property near them too
and threaten the same thing I mean offer them the same generous deal...
Re: Pono Player
I like the jokes, but then I also like Toblerone. And bright yellow things.
There might be a whiff of audiophile woo about the Pono - and a silly name. Perhaps he should have gone for the PwnO?
But it looks like you can get a good quality equivalent of the iPod Classic for about the same price (maybe a touch cheaper). With a better UI, although that might just be becuase I hate the crappy clickwheel thingies. And it's got solid state memory. I've not seen a dedicated mp3 player with flash memory with more than 8GB. Dunno why. Many phones can manage that. I think it's 32GB + as many 32GB SD cards as you want. So better than the iPod, as no hard disk.
Another killer feature is that you won't need iTunes. Does happy dance.
There's also stuff about how it's got better quality DACs and is all lovely and engineered for perfect sound. I'm not qualified to comment on that. The sound from my iPod when bunged through decent speakers is pretty good. And that's only using high bitrate mp3. I've mixed live music, I've got pretty good ears, but I'm not sure I'd back myself to tell the difference in a blind test.
Oh and the triangle shape is quite practical. It'll probably be comfortable in the hand (and pocket). As well as standing up nicely when you plug it into a set of speakers - and will sit on the desk at an angle so you can read the screen. I believe there's a black model for those who find that lovely yellow a bit too conspicuous.
So even with all the downsides. If I can get a Pone when my iPod finally snuffs it, I'll look at it. I buy CDs anyway, then rip the music. So I'm not going to be paying double-price for super-bitrate FLAC downloads. And with Amazon I get my CDs at a reasonable price, and when they lost one in the post last week it didn't matter. Because Amazon Cloud Player meant I could have played it within 30 seconds of having hit buy, til it turned up twice today.
Sadly for Neil Young, I can probably get a Moto G or cheap Nokia Lumia for £100 - and put a 128GB SD card in that. Then I've got both a spare phone and a replacement for the iPod. Sadly the current work iPhone is only 8GB.
...a malaria vaccine that's made by taking parasites from the glands of mosquitos, irradiating them so that they grow to enormous size and kill everybody in the lab, which then has to be bombed by the air-force in order to destroy the mutant monster.
[I guess I ought to have emailed this to the corrections@elreg, but I've done it now.]
Re: To aid science
You can have mine. My body is a temple.
A temple of Dionysus...
Well red wine and choccy are still good for me. Check.
But they're not sure which component of them it is.
Conclusion: The same compound in red wine and dark choccy that makes you live longer, is also present in belgian buns and bacon.
No one can disprove me! So I've got at least ten years excuse to get noshing on that lot, before the killjoys can tell me it's bad for me.
Would it be pushing the point to try and claim the same health benefits for M&S Percy Pigs?
I still put my money in a bank, rather than keep it all under the mattress. YMMV of course :)
Banks have this thing called a deposit guarantee. The first £100k of your money is safe. Unless the government goes down at the same time as the bank of course. But then your economy is collapsing anyway.
Apparently someone's run off with the tulips. We're now waiting to find out whether they've taken the field as well...
Dogecoin seems appropriate. If you pronounce the 'e', you get dodgycoin. Or close enough...
Re: Over their heads...
Well to be fair, if flights over LAX are in danger of crashing into the ISS, or worse the Moon, then I think LA has bigger problems to worry about than just a few delayed flights...
Where's the Space 1999 silver jumpsuit logo when you want it?
Re: Pair of twits?
Have you ever seen them and Jedward in the same room? Aha!
I say old chaps. I'm awfully sorry, I'm afraid I didn't catch a word of that. Would you mind repeating it in the Queen's own? Top-hole what!
For some unaccountable reason, El Reg doesn't have a twiddling moustache icon! Well I mean, dash it all! What a total shower!
Re: I can't say I blame them
You do realise you've got that backwards, don't you?
China has spent the last decade selling stuff to the West and not buying as much of our stuff in exchange. To balance the books they've bought debt instead. This doesn't mean they get to take over though. As it's 'credit card debt', not 'mortgage'. It's un-secured. And there ain't no bailiffs.
Therefore they're likely not to get it all back.
Some inflation, a bit of QE, an inevitable Italian default...
Re: Sony like Samsung?
I can't comment on Sony's software, having not played with any of their kit in a while. But I can comment on Samsung.
My friend has a Galaxy Note II, on my advice. A brilliant piece of kit... but...
Oh the software, oh the horror, the pain, the duplication... erk!
I believe I saw on a review that there were 247 options to choose from. The menu is huge. And has many sub-menus. It took me 3 hours to set the thing up (there's no way my mate could have done it). I admit it's my first 'Droid in a couple of years, but all I was doing was syching to the cloud Exchange server and downloading his photos. And going through page, after page, of menus. With crap defaults. Wonderful geek toy though.
Anyway, my real complaint is that not only have Samsung duplicated all of Google's software, but they're no duplicating their own! In their last update, they took away his program for making sketches on photos (the reason I recoommended the damn thing to him). Bastards! I hate updates that remove software. So I was called in to try and fix it.
It's OK though. They took away the software that allows photos to be exported to the sketch app. But they have 2 other apps, that do similar things. It's just it takes about 5 clicks to get into one, and 7 or 8 for the other!
Kudos to them for bringing back the stylus though. Shame their idea of innovation seems to be to ship every feature currently in R&D - then hope for the best.
Google control the Play store. So I think Google have them by the balls. Even Samsung.
Well that's not totally true. But it would take a lot of work to get the same variety of apps out there - even for an Android fork. I don't know what tools Amazon have made available - but they've only got 20% of Android apps on there. After several years and very decent market share. And I'm not sure any of the mobile manufacturers are up to getting the software, store and developer stuff all sorted at the same time.
Look at what's happened to Microsoft and Blackberry. And I think a large component of that is lack of apps. Both the phone OSes are nice.
The place you can do well despite a lack of apps, is at the bottom end. The sub £150 smartphones. But there's almost no profit to be had there. All the cash is at the top end. People paying £30 a month plus for their calls (and hire-purchase on the handset), those people want apps. The latest and shiniest apps.
Re: So just to clarify,,,
Does this piece criticise Google?
I read it more as a warning. There are big pros to having one company set the standard. You get interoperability, a drop in costs, simplicity, a chance of believable roadmaps.
There are also some pretty big possible cons. The risk of predatory monopoly, and the loss of interesting innovation being the two biggies. Also the fact that you're totally reliant on one company, who might cock everything up.
Re: I was in Carphone Warehouse, during lunch,
Yeah. I've talked to Carphone Warehouse staff who knew what they were talking about - and could answer complex technical questions. When I was away a friend went in for help with his Galaxy Note II, and the guy zoomed through a bunch of settings and showed them some of what was up, and suggested a possible fix. Rather than trying to sell them a Note III, or going um.
Last time I was in PC World (with the same friend) they couldn't even tell me the spec of the laptop they were holding in their hand. All I wanted was what graphics chip it had, it was for custom CAD. It wasn't on their website either, so I had to look it up on my phone, from their small business advisor's desk.
The guy I'd asked a question of 5 minutes before simply looked down and started reading off the price/product details card a foot in front of me. Cheers! I never thought of that. Fortunately that one was turned on, so I could just ask it to tell me what goodies it had inside.
The only time I've been there and 4 of them have approached me and asked if I wanted help. Rather than the usual of having to lasso the buggers, as they run away.
There's too many elements to make anything out of the name. Other than maybe a poem? Haiku anyone...
Re: New IP?
I've got an original game idea that will save them! You have a road, with lots of cars and lorries whizzing by on it. And you have to get a
frog *ahem!* I mean toad across the road to safety. It could be called toady-roady-crush...
Re: "Player Milking System"
you get nailed again and again by huge numbers of candies from one side of the balance
So there's an imbalance in the force,
suddenly you stop having three straight yellows drop to tip the owl off
This is obviously some sort of bizarre sexual perversion. I mean I've heard of dogging, but tipping owls?
and you start getting neutral colours instead.
And after the rumpy-pumpy comes inevitable decorating...
It's possible there's more to this game than I previously thought...
Why didn't he taser them then? Just because I wonder what the effect of tasering during sex would be?
"Did the earth move for you darling? For me it felt like 10,000 volts shooting between us!"
Re: Migratory Robin?
So you're basically saying that Northern robins are harder - and don't consider your winters cold. Shall we go South for winter, or just put a t-shirt on?
Bloody migrant robins, coming here taking our nests - with their fancy magnetic beaks!
Re: Fake Snake oil
OK, so much for silver. But I've got tinfoil underpants, to match my tinfoil hat. Let's see your government control-rays get through that!
Re: I agree
How long would it survive Daley Thompson's Decathlon?
Well done to all you deprived noshers. Keep up the good work til tomorrow. And then you can bask in the bacony delights of brekkie.
Re: national security
There was a lot going on with TNK-BP. It's always hard to know what's government sponsored and what isn't. Certainly it's not safe to rely on equity in the Russian court system under Putin. And from what I read about the case BP (and probably the UK government) had to lobby Putin in order to fix the logjam and get some sort of resolution that avoided another UK/Russian joint venture getting hijacked. And Putin's inner circle aren't exactly unknown for seizing the assets of other peoples' companies.
I think the UK government regarded the Litvinenko murder as official. Even if it wasn't, the Russian government made it quite clear that they were glad he was dead, and that they weren't going to do anything about it. The particular poison used is also indicative that the operation was state-sponsored. You can't just pick Polonium up in your local chemists. And the fact that the killers don't seem to have understood how dangerous the stuff was, and contaminated a couple of planes a couple of restaurants and several hotels with it (as well as themselves) - also rather strongly suggests that they weren't the brains behind the operation. Which again suggests that it was a state-organised job. Finally, everyone involved, including Putin, seems to have been ex-KGB/FSB and all seem to have known each other quite well. Not that you'd call Litvinenko totally trustworthy. At one point he was working for the FSB and Berezovsky simultaneously, as well as working/consulting for MI6 and maybe MI5, plus being a journalist. There's not much trustworthiness in that CV...
Re: INSTANT DISQUALIFICATION!
Russia broke a treaty with the US, UK and Ukraine guaranteeing its territorial integrity. It invaded and annexed part of a neighbour. For no good reason. And did so illegally, with no negotiation or attempt at diplomacy. It followed this up by attempting to forment civil war in what remains of the same neighbour.
If you don't see those as actions that are both worrying, and deserving of some response, then you're a fool.
Re: I like Elon.
We have no way of knowing if Musk is throwing a tantrum. It looks from outside like he was trying to get in on the bidding on a project, and got muscled out by a cosy group of cronies who've been ripping the US taxpayer off for years. It may be that he's unable to fulfill certain parts of the contract and therefore has no hope of winning. However, the suspicion is that underhanded things have happened.
Personally I like his tactics. I've no problem with him throwing the odd sueball. Where you have $70 billion contracts you have lawyers. 'Tis unavoidable. If you don't manage to fulrill the contract, then many lawyers will descent upon you with great wrath, evacuate your bank accounts, pillage your villages, and leave you with nothing, in the smoking ruins of your dreams.
In this case, ULA may be in breach of sanctions on Russia. Oops. But they're also massively more expensive than Musk. I seem to recall they've had more NASA money for SLS (which isn't even out of design stage yet) than he's had for his launches to the ISS. In fact, They just love their government pork. Sooooo taaaaasty!
I also like his guerilla marketing approach. In his press conference last week where he complained that he's charing (and making profits!) a quarter what they are - he made some nice comments about how many fighter squadrons and battalions of marines this would pay for. So I supect he's trying to get a bit of a war going on amongst the top brass at the Pentagon. Smart tactics.
Meanwhile, at the same time as fighting for all this lovely government cash, he's also researching like a looney.
His is the first company in history to launch a rocket into space and land the first stage vertically. The 1st private company to achieve orbit. The first man to orbit a giant cheese... They've got a capsule and rocket well on the way to man-rating. So he's extremely likely to replace US manned capability before ULA manage to get their system off the ground.
And he's taken risks, rather than just replicating old tech. So by having his capsule have the rockets on board, he can manage landings on land instead of at sea. This also gives Dragon the capability to escape a launch fire, essential to get a man-rating. And further gives it the ability to land on Mars or the Moon. Plus a re-usable first stage coming real soon now.
How much more could NASA have done with its budget over the years if it had been partnered with companies like SpaceX, rather than getting ripped off by Boeing and Lockheed Martin?
Re: national security
Litvinenko wasn't a fat cat. He was a journalist. Although I'm not sure how successful. He'd also been involved in security for Boris Berezovsky as well as working for KGB/FSB before. But that murder did a lot of damage to relations.
There was also Hermitage Capital, where Putin's mates stole the assets of a London hedge fund. Sadly for them, the head office found out the night before and took all the money out. But they did torture and murder their accountant Sergei Magnitsky.
Then there was the seizure of the Sakhalin-2 gas field from Shell 8 years ago. And all the shennanigans with TNK-BP, where it was assumed that BP would be forced to sell at a loss. But in the end they got what looked like a reasonable price, but only as a stake in Rosneft. Which I ssuspect they can't sell to get the cash out of Russia, so it may turn out that they won't get paid on that either.
So there are many reasons for UK / Russian relations to be so cool.
Also, as to Russia having 'reasonable' relations with Germany, as Voland's Right Hand puts it, I'm not so sure. Germany seems to have sold its partners down the river to some extent. Perhaps we could have got better relations with Russia if we could have had a unified position? Rather than letting Russia use divide and conquer tactics.
The policy that I think Germany should be ashamed of is the Nordstream pipeline. After Russia cut off Ukraine's gas in the middle of Winter (2008?), obviously the pipeline goes through Ukraine, so Eastern Europe also suffered.
Germany's response wasn't to get together with its EU partners to try and arrange a system where Russia couldn't blackmail various states into submission. The Ukraine cut was heavily tied up with negotiations to renew the lease on the Sevastopol naval base. Which Russia so recently annexed...
Instead it was to build a Baltic pipeline that would bypass Ukraine and also Poland (who are supposed to be an ally), so Germany would get gas, even if everyone else was cut off. The Schroeder government pushed this, and in fact Gerhard is now on the board of Nordstream - and turned up in Moscow last week praising Putin, and saying that illegally annexing Crimea was just thee same as recognising Kosovo's independence. Which is damned well isn't. The German government were rather embarrassed by that.
Re: "A teardown report on Google Glass"
Well it's $5,000 for the kidneys, $10k for the heart, 8 pints of blood at $20 a go...
Oh' sorry, you didn't mean that kind of tear-down? Ahem! I'd best get my coat. The one with the fava beans and chianti in the pockets please.
Real programmers do it at 4am, hyper on pizza and coffee. Then press commit, and run away.
My first program
10 PRINT "LUKE SMELLS OF POO!"
20 GOTO 10
Then, as my skills developed, I could do this in larger text size, cycle the screen border through many bright colours and cycle the text colour as well. I'm afraid that's as far as I got with programming, before going back to playing games. Apart from a brief course in C++ 20 years ago.
Re: The next step . . . .
without the need to endure endless rounds of brain-atrophying sing-a-longs and knees-ups.
What are you talking about! My Chas-n-Dave-o-Matic-Knees-up-Mother-Brown-o-Tron is goes down a storm with the old dears, and is going to make my fortune!
Re: I often
Grass is always greener... but by being single you'll be saving a fortune in not buying wine
Oh dear. I must be doing it wrong. Glug, glug. A rather nice man brought me online-ordered boozy nectar at 8:30 last night. It was all wine and port. There'll be considerably less of it after this weekend.
I can't buy veg in bulk, as I'm too lazy to have a mass cooking and freezing session to use it up. But I do currently have over 2 years supply of dishwasher tablets, as Sainsbury's had it on special offer, and gave me even more cash if I spent £25 on cleaning stuff in one shop. And dry goods like rice and pasta last. Although you do then come up against the problem of limited cupboard space.
There is another major advantage. When someone on your space zeppelin upsets you, then you just chuck them out the door. As they fall into the more unfriendly parts of the atmosphere, they can die in many interesting ways, simultaneously.
Much more fun than sharks, to have them crushed, boiled and dissolved.
Re: Freaking ugly.
Houston, this is Quasimodo. I'm entering the air-lock now...
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